Singapore-based e-tailer Zalora bags $140m funding for growth

Online fashion and beauty retailer has raised more than $260m to date

Singapore-based fashion and beauty e-tailer Zalora has landed a US$112 million (S$140 million) funding deal to be used to broaden its inventory and grow its business. The funds were raised from United States-based private investor group Access Industries and other institutional investors.

With the US$100 million it raised in May this year, it has received more than US$210 million (S$260 million) since it was founded in late 2011. This is the largest funding coup notched up for an online fashion start-up in South-east Asia, said Zalora Group managing director Michele Ferrario.

He told The Straits Times yesterday that the cash injection confirms that its business model is working, as it looks to the region's 600 million consumers as potential customers.

"We are a regional business but wherever we go, we also localise our brand. About half of what we offer in countries are fashion and beauty products that are local to the country. For example, in Malaysia and Indonesia, we have Muslim wear, but not in countries like Singapore or Australia.

"Our portals and customer service are also available in two languages, like Vietnamese and English or Bahasa Indonesia and English," he said.

More staff will be needed at its warehouses, based in the capital city of every country where it operates, to pack and deliver increased orders to meet its promised next-day delivery.

"To upgrade our service, for example, to pick up customer calls within five seconds of a phone ringing, we would need to have more people. Our software... also needs to be upgraded and improved."

Mr Ferrario declined to give growth numbers for Zalora, which stocks more than 500 international and local brands. It has more than 130,000 types of shoes, accessories, clothes and beauty products for men and women.

It operates in eight South-east Asian countries and Hong Kong. In Australia and New Zealand, it is known as The Iconic.

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